“Girls, I promise. If we all just work together for 15 minutes, we can get this done and then we all get to rest.”
The three sweet, innocent, female faces of my pre-teen daughters looked back at me in a way that said, “Mom… now, really. It doesn’t have to be done right now.”
You’ve seen that look. You’ve probably worn that look once or twice. I have.
The battle that something needs to get done yet you feel very little motivation to actually jump in and start getting it done is something that I learned to face growing up, I’m still learning and I’m working hard to teach my daughters.
And that night, after a looong day of travel, we did it. Together. We tackled those suitcases, had laundry in piles for the next morning and everything put back where it was supposed to go so we could all rest before bedtime.
When life is busy and things are hectic, finding motivation to do just the day-to-day tasks can be quite tough.
Time. There is never enough.
Jobs. There are always too many.
Procrastination is in a constant battle with motivation.
Whether you have kids or not, work outside the home or not, homeschool or not, find yourself overseas or not…
Life is busy.
And there are huge piles of things to get done.
But sometimes the call of netflix or pinterest or instagram or a good book FAR outweigh the work load. Sometimes sitting outside with the kids or going with a friend for coffee is much more appealing. A sale at your favorite store? Yes.
And those things are good and have their moment, but… when you are busy, things need done. The piles and lists don’t go away.
The house needs cleaned, errands need run, laundry needs put away, paperwork needs filled out.
The toilet needs fixed, the dryer is broken, the ants are burrowing through the wall, the electricity is out, the goats are loud… yeah.
Jobs, distractions, noise, overwhelming feelings… all of it.
So, how do you have the motivation to dig in and get things done?
Even better, how do you manage to get things done AND still have time for the fun, much more appealing list above?
I’ve thought of some things that help me get things done and have time for the fun stuff.
1. Work space. This is something on my must have list. I need a space that I love to sit in to work on that paperwork and those reports those phone calls. I need room for folders and pens and files and a coaster for my iced coffee. Even a candle or two. Make that work space somewhere you want to be and will help you sit down for the tasks needed.
2. Multitask. Before I sit down to work on anything, I make sure the dishwasher is running or the laundry is running or the kids are working on something. I love having 2 or 3 or 4 things going at once. Feeling productive adds to your motivation to knock things off your to-do list. I love finishing a few tasks at once. This is a cultivated skill… give it a try.
3. Lists. Checking things off the list really does help you see what you have accomplished. Not to mention it helps you remember! Use a piece of paper or an app on your phone (we use any.do!)… whatever works to help you make great lists! Keep paper by the bed for those late night thoughts. Write things down. It helps.
4. Fight the “I don’t want to” feeling. Sometimes you have to just start working on something to combat the feeling of not wanting to work on your to-do lists. Once I start sorting laundry or cleaning the kitchen I usually start feeling the motivation to dig in to other things on my list. Also, remind yourself how good it feels to finally have that task OFF your list. That will never fail to get me moving ahead.
5. Enlist help. If there is a lot that needs done, start assigning chores or jobs. Give your spouse some of your errands. Call a friend to help out. Hire a babysitter. Or a cleaning lady. Get everyone working so you can get a load of things done and then have time for fun.
6. Prioritize. When there is a lot to do, I have to remind myself what is most important. It doesn’t ALL have to be done right now. The list isn’t so overwhelming when you know what has to be done and what your deadlines are for that day. What needs done first? What needs printed or started or filed or folded? Dig in to the first things on your list and then work on the rest later.
7. Timed Breaks. If you are like me, a 15 minute facebook check can turn into an hour of browsing online. Set a timer. Stick to it. Go back to work.
8. Find the Unnecessary. Does what you are stressing over really need done? Is your to do list full of things that NEED done or things you WANT done? When you need motivation, it helps to finish what needs done. Then you can dig in to what you want to do.
9. Quiet. I love playing worship music or letting my Bible app read to me or even just silencing the house when my to-do list is big. Sometimes an hour of quiet in the house can help you accomplish more than when things are crazy and loud. Send the kids outside, utilize their sports practice times… find quiet to hit the hard things on your list.
10. Rest. Once you have prioritized and multitasked and enlisted help and accomplished all you can for that time… rest. Let go. The list WILL be there tomorrow. Take time with family. Read a book. Sit outside. Get the rest you need so you can recharge for the next list and the next day.
11. Recognize the limitations. Friends, living overseas will increase the time it takes to do everything, increase the stress level of getting them done, frustrate you to no end and make finishing a task nearly impossible. Go with it. Slow your life down, pull the pressure off, let go of that American time frame and join the flow around you. Release yourself from your normal “get it done now” attitude and take a deep breath. You’ll feel better. You are doing a great job, I promise.
Motivation during busy times is possible. You can do it.
You can work hard and have fun time too. You can beat procrastination and accomplish great things with your days. Yes, friends, even overseas.
Dig in. Start the process and motivation to complete the list will come soon after.
Plus having the fun time you need at the end.
“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” -Nelson Mandela
What are some things that you do to fight procrastination and busyness and being overwhelmed?